Urban Parenting Tips for Young Moms, Dads and Grandparents By Edye Deloch-Hughes

Posts tagged ‘Parenting tips’

This father shares the love on Facebook

They say a good man is hard to find, let alone a good Dad. But I’ve had the great pleasure of being married to one and enjoying friendships with guys who are exemplary fathers.

One friend in particular is both a colleague and Facebook buddy. His name is Darryl Duncan, an accomplished musician and owner of Gamebeat Studios in the Chicagoland area. Darryl became a single father a couple of years ago. He was awarded sole custody of his twin teenaged sons, Shaun and Stephen.

Darryl is the consummate father who believes that you can be your teen’s best friend AND strong disciplinarian when needed.  He has made certain his kids know when and where he draws the line, and they learn not to cross it.

I was struck by Darryl’s Facebook posts which often featured his sons as the subject. In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share a few of them with you.

On being a father…

“As a father what does it mean to provide for your children? No, not just clothing, food, shelter or a support check. But if you aren’t teaching them 2 respect everyone no matter how different they are, and giving them the emotional & mental tools they need 2 cope with life and deal with others, then they’ll lack the most important part and they don’t have to live with you to provide this to them.”

On respect…

“I’m not bragging, I’m just grateful, grateful that my 15 yr old twin boys are just not interested in the things many of their peers are. They don’t swear, they could care less about the latest gym shoes, they despise saggin’, they’d rather be home than hanging out, they have a healthy respect for their female peers, and they still address me “Yes sir/No sir”. If I could bottle it, I’d GIVE it away! Yes, I’m Grateful!”

Hittin’ the books…

“[Proud Dad Brag Alert:] Sophomore year – Shaun GPA 4.0, Stephen GPA 3.8, and in honors classes! (My GPA back in the day?……noneyadamnbiz :)”

Discipline…

“Ok, my sons…want a bit of advice? No? Well you’re getting it anyway! The reason it is taking you 4 hours to do one hours worth of homework is because you WON’T PUT DOWN THAT FREAKING IPHONE!!! focus baby boys focus. Yea, that’s ya boy….and yea, she is cute…but they can WAIT!”

Showing affection…

“So my boys are split on wanting me to get my first Tattoo. Been wanting one for a couple of years now and I know what I want. I have Shaun’s full endorsement, but Stephen says he won’t give me a hug or a kiss for 2 years if I get it. Hmmmm, I can ambush him for a hug and I am pretty accurate at blowing kisses. So…”

Settling disputes…

“Who’s turn is it to take out the garbage, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the steps…, fold the clothes, clean the toilets, or whatever….To end all the squabbling, bickering, arguing and debating over who does what, I have now declared that everything between Stephen & Shaun be decided by a chess match. What son? You’ve already done that chore 4 times in a row……well sharpen up your game buddy! lol”

Supporting their interests…

“My 15 year old teens have the absolutely most diverse musical taste for their age it is freakin’ me out…..acid metal, jazz, classical, Japanese rock, pop, hard core rap, I guess that’s a good thing, but listening to them pump their music I don’t know what the hell mood to be in!”

Giving quality time…

“No School today for my boys, we’ll do a movie (Skyline), then some house cleaning, Then I’ll cook dinner (Chili), then we’ll play some Call of Duty Black Ops later on.”

Leaving a legacy…

“I believe there are but 3 main criteria by which a man’s legacy is ultimately judged. #1. What he has done or tries to do for others, #2 His body of works, talents and accomplishments and #3, The character & integrity of the children he has raised to carry on. To simply be aware of and to strive for all 3 is an accomplishment in itself and I feel the continued endless pursuit of this trinity, makes our Maker happy.”

Now that’s raising your kids well.

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Does your son think sag means swag? Sagging pants outlawed in Florida schools.

Dear Edye,

I just read that Florida passed a bill outlawing sagging jeans in their schools. I, being a son and a father, feel that it is just a style. That people should wear whatever they want.  Women have more leniency in their clothing. They wear short skirts, no bra straps. no underwear, etc. But men have more restrictions. It’s just a style. I don’t choose to wear it. But I won’t outlaw others who want to.

Signed,

Dad Who Doesn’t Sag (Not by law, by choice)

Dear Dad,

Some people think the new Florida bill is a long time coming and should spread throughout the U.S.. Others like you,  think it’s a violation of a person’s rights; and that it targets young black males. Personally, I can’t stand the style.  The look originated in prisons when belts were forbidden for fear of suicide attempts. It spread into the streets.  I also heard that it was a sexual invitation to other men.

Bill passes prohibiting sagging pants in Florida schools

Am I glad such a law exists? Hesitantly, I say yes, because of the blatantly negative and vulgar image it gives. One young black male said to me, “I think the Florida law is good. Nobody should wear sagging pants because it’s tacky.” The goal is to create an environment of learning and readiness, which this dress style does not convey.  On the other hand, Florida’s anti-sagging bill could open the door for restrictions that may infringe on other rights.

We as parents should not let the law do what we should be doing at home. We should be teaching values, pride and respect. Lack of parental guidance and moral upbringing is, in my opinion, raising hell.  Because of the lack of training, some of us parents allow our sons and daughters to sink into the abyss of indecency. It’s reflected in how they dress and conduct themselves in public. Even some parents need to check what messages they send by how they dress and act.

Somehow, we have accepted this “do what you feel” philosophy into our culture as normal. Speaking of culture,  Hip hop has many cool points in my book, however this so-called “sag swag” ain’t one of them.  Let me also say, though many young African-American males sport the saggy pants style, there are whites and other nonblacks who wear it as well.

It will be interesting to see the response to Florida’s new bill. The NAACP and ACLU are against it  for the reasons I mentioned above. What do you think? Should sagging pants be against the law?

Here’s a video bonus “Pull Ya Pantz Up” rap

Edye’s 5 Parenting Wisecracks

Dear Edye,

Do you have any new year’s resolutions for parents?

Dina K., St. Louis, MO

Dina, I don’t really have any resolutions, but I did come up with some quick random tips on how to raise your kids well that you can put into practice this new year. I call them Edye’s 5 Parenting Wisecracks. If you want to add to my wisecracks, please do. I also threw in a short video at the end about reading, raising kids, etc. that you may enjoy. Viewer discretion advised.

Here are my 5 Parenting Wisecracks:

1) Crack a book

Read to and with your kids.

If you can’t afford the bookstore, visit your public library. Not many things are free in this world, but a library card is. Books and videos are at your disposal at no cost to you – that’s the ultimate hook-up. Take your kids when they are young so they develop a love for books.

If your kids are older and find reading difficult (or you find it difficult too) get books with bigger type or  graphic novels. Some parents and educators may turn up their noses at comic and picture books. But I say do what you gotta do to spark interest.  Audio books are great too. Hey, whatever it takes.

I can’t emphasize this enough: Be active in their school. Know their teachers. Help them with their homework.

Make up books. Get some paper, pencil and crayons and allow your children to make their own storybooks.

For older kids, pick out a book you all like and read it together, then discuss it – Actor Will Smith does it with his family. Not only does it foster a love for reading, it brings families closer together.

Start a book club with fellow parents and their kids. If reading is a challenge for you, improve your skills. Check out your local library or community college for literacy resources. Visit, www.literacydirectory.org/

2) Crack an egg

Teach your kids how to cook. Don’t know how? Get a cookbook and learn together.

Ask your grandmama to teach you and your kids how to prepare your  favorite recipes.

Make sure your kids  eat at least three healthy well-balanced meals a day.  (Doritos and Coke is not a meal)

Make sure they eat breakfast. Have it handy and easy to reach when you can’t be there to fix it, e.g. instant oatmeal, fruit, cereal, milk, juice packets…

Chill on the junk food and take-outs.

Cut up fresh fruits and veggies,  put them in a container and set it on the bottom shelf of the frig so the little ones can grab it.

Cool out on sugar, candy, pop and sugary juices.

Note: Chips don’t count as a vegetable and milk shakes aren’t a good source of calcium

3) Crack the whip

Have clear-cut rules of the house, and follow through.

Don’t let them run you.

Have consequences for bad behavior.

Make them accountable for their actions.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Mean what you say, say what you mean. And follow through.

Avoid beating them “‘till the white meat shows”. Don’t spank out of anger.  Personally, I believe an occasional spanking on a covered bottom may be necessary, But whooping kids with extension cords, brooms and fists  is downright child abuse. Constant hitting and slapping causes emotional and behavioral problems. Shaking a baby or small child can cause brain damage or death.

Try using time-outs. It actually works! (Trust me, some kids hate time-outs worse than spankings) The length of a time-out is their age. Example:  5 years old: 5 minute timeout. Note: Once they get around eight – 10 or so, that time-out stuff gets old. Time to pull out the big dogs…

Take away something they enjoy like their cell phone, video game, mall trip with their friends…

Be reasonable. Don’t over punish.

Be consistent.

Watch your mouth. Be firm without the screaming, cursing and name calling.

Explain why they are on punishment.

Recognize that some consequences are punishment enough. Example:  A four-year old falls off the bed and hurts himself after using it as a trampoline. Here lies a teachable moment. Punishment may be overkill.

Keep the lines of communication open. That means you learn to listen. Be fair. Let them know you love them, even when you discipline them.

Don’t hold it against your child or nurse a grudge.

4) Crack a joke

Parenting doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. Have fun, with your kids, people!

Live, love, laugh with your kids. Catch them doing good and let them know it.

Get down to their level and play with them  (If your knees can take it ).

Have Wednesday game night (A treat for homework and chores completed).

Do crash and burn Fridays (Pizza and an action B Movie) or a girls pamper day at the nail shop (Again, for homework and chores completed).

Have open discussions. Give your kids and yourself permission to truly connect.

With that said, be friendly with your kids. Befriend them. But don’t try to be their BFF. You are not on the same level.

5) Crack kills

Have honest  nonjudgmental discussions with your kids about drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

If they are younger, talk about the meds you give them when their sick and how it’s used for a specific purpose, the dosage etc.

If  a friend, family member or favorite celebrity smokes, abuses drugs or alcohol, talk about it. Ask your kids how they feel. If it affects your family, how will you handle it?

If they’re older, share your experiences. Keep it real. Why did you do it?  Or why didn’t you? For some of us, why do you still do it? If that’s you, be an example and quit. For help, click here: drug addiction support and here:  how to quit smoking .

Know your kids’ friends and their “people”.

Don’t feel guilty about checking their book bags  and chest of drawers from time to time.

Read up on the latest drugs so you know your stuff. For more information, click here.

And now for your viewing pleasure, check out this video.

A “no-show” at your child’s school functions?

Before I get to our topic, let me introduce myself. My name is Edye. I’ve made my living as an ad professional but I’ve lived my life as a mother of two sons, and now “G-ma” to my two grandsons. My hubby Darryl and I have gone through our parenting challenges with much pleasure and pain. I’m relieved to say, the boys, now in their twenties, turned out “aight”. Young parents today are going through some stuff, e.g. family conflict and lack of support, baby daddy/mama drama, school, job and money issues, drugs, abuse and more. There is no longer a sense of community support and guidance like it was back in the day. So many parents are raising more hell than raising their kids well. But I figure, if you know better, you’ll do better. Maybe that’s why young moms and dads come to me for advice. My blog gives you a slice of what raising hell versus raising your kids well looks like (see video below) .  It’s all my opinion – my perspective. Agree or disagree. Add suggestions. Ask a question. I’d like to feature it in my next post.  With that said, on to our question:

Dear Edye,

“I’m a single parent. I work long hours and come home tired. The last thing I feel like doing is going up to my son’s school for Parent/Teacher’s Night, PTO meetings – whatever. Some parents work hard for a living. I just don’t have the time.  Am I raising hell?” – “Tired Mom”, Chicago, Illinois

Raising Hell…

Raise Them Well…

Raising a Point…

It’s rough working long hours  and dealing with your child’s school obligations too. I feel you. I’ve been there.  But if you don’t show up, your child may show out. Research shows, students do better in school if parents are involved in their learning. No-shows can include not being available to help with homework, volunteering at school, attending student’s special events, as well as parent-school functions. Some teachers invest less time with kids whose parents are no-shows. Some kids invest less time in their studies when their parents are no-shows.   Low performance gone unchecked can lead to frustration, lack of confidence, low self esteem and negative behavior. That’s raising hell.

Quick Tips:

  • Arrange ahead of time with your employer to leave early or have that day off to attend a school function or event. That means reading the flyer and marking the dates ahead of time.
  • If you absolutely can’t make it to the Parent/Teachers conferences and school meetings, schedule to meet the teacher at a later date, then show up.
  • Develop a partnership with teachers. Exchange emails and phone numbers. Communicate regularly.
  • For parent homework support, attend parent homework workshops or talk to the teacher for help.

When you show your face in the place, you show you care. And your child feels more motivated to learn. That’s raising them well.

Like I said,  hit me back with your opinions, suggestions and critique. Or if you want to raise an issue or question, that’s cool too. It may end up in my “Raising Hell or Raise Them Well” series, which I’m making into a book.

Disclaimer: Don’t be alarmed by my weird mixed race, robotic, Lego-like characters. I am experimenting with different visuals. I’m open to suggestions.